Plastic has become one of the most important materials in modern life due to its versatility and wide-scale uses. Unfortunately though, plastic packaging that becomes waste poses a real problem if not treated correctly.
The truth is that, if packaging is managed properly, we can reduce the amount of plastic that becomes unused waste and thereby contribute to the circular economy.
However, first we need to highlight the important role that plastic plays as a material and the value it represents for society.
PLASTICS HELP PREVENT FOOD WASTE BY PRESERVING FRESHNESS
These days, plastic packaging allows food to be distributed around the world, retaining its properties and nutrients until consumption.
Plastics are easy to sterilise and allow different options such as vacuum packing or modified atmosphere packaging, often used for much of the food we eat.
Plastic keeps food fresh for longer and allows it to be sold in places where otherwise it would not arrive in such good condition. It also plays a vital role in cutting down on food waste, due to offering these storage and preservation options.
As a result, countries that use more plastic to sell their products generate minimum levels of food loss by using the right type of packaging.
IT IS DURABLE, HELPING TO SAVE ENERGY
A large part of the current problem surrounding plastic is that people think of it as a material that quickly ends up as waste and that this is its inevitable destiny, when in actual fact it has a whole other set of properties.
One of these is its durability. Some plastic goods can last for over 50 years, without deterioration or wear or tear. In the home, plastic packaging has one of the longest life-spans and can be re-used over and over again, without losing its qualities.
Using plastic also helps to save energy on many different levels. In the construction industry, for instance, it can be used as insulation which gives homes better climate control.
Opting for reusable plastic packaging also reduces the amount of other packaging needed, and therefore the use of other raw materials and the energy and polluting emissions they generate.
PLASTIC USED IN AGRICULTURE HELPS SAVES WATER AND REDUCE EMISSIONS
Many people are unaware that plastic is a widely used material in agriculture due to the fact it reduces water consumption, among other reasons.
It has many uses in this sector, one of the most notable being micro-irrigation. This irrigation system optimises water use and can save up to 60% compared to other more traditional alternatives.
Plastic packaging also saves over other alternatives when it comes to transportation, due to its light weight. Larger quantities of this material can be transported while using less fuel, which means fewer CO2 emissions when compared to the transportation of other materials.
TAPPING INTO BIODEGRADABLE PLASTIC PACKAGING
To arrive at a fair assessment of plastic packaging, it is important to be properly informed. Did you know that there is also biodegradable plastic packaging?
Our R&D and Innovation department has focused its efforts on improving our sustainability standards, which has given rise to BIO FVSOL 60, a biodegradable, compostable and bio-based material.
The fact that it is biodegradable means it is made from natural materials which can decompose naturally, contributing to the life cycle of other microorganisms.
One of the aims we set ourselves at SP Group is to encourage the recycling of our plastic packaging when it has come to the end of its life. We make recyclable packaging from materials such as PET, HDPE, LDPE and PP, as well as packaging from recycled materials such as rPET.
Our ECO range of recyclable packaging is an example of this effort to make our products and workflows more sustainable.
PLASTIC PACKAGING DOES NOT NEED TO END UP IN THE OCEAN IF WE TREAT IT PROPERLY
We are used to watching environmental news reports and documentaries that feature the problem of plastic waste in the ocean and how it can endanger marine habitats.
This problem must be addressed until every trace of plastic waste that ends up in the ocean has vanished.
Plastic does not need to enter the ocean. Far from it, we need to keep taking full advantage of its properties and ensure that, once it has become waste, it undergoes a recycling and storage process that is safe and effective for everyone.
Having seen the important role that plastic plays in our society, we now know that it is not a material that needs to disappear from our lives, and instead we must ensure its effective management, especially once it no longer serves its original purpose.
Proper management in the home and at work can help completely eliminate plastic waste in the ocean, where it should never be present.
SP Group has some tips to make the best use of plastic packaging:
- As individuals, remember that plastic packaging must be recycled in the yellow bin, along with other packaging, including metal and cartons.
- If you want to reuse plastic packaging there are endless possibilities, for example, bird feeders, urban gardens and pet food dispensers, to name a few.
- As businesses, if you do not know what to do with the amount of plastic your company generates, please contact us. We can advise you on how to manage your plastic waste to make your business more sustainable.